Sunday 29 April 2012

My run in with a high-velocity pigmentation delivery system

My heart is racing and I feel sweat begin to form on my forehead. I grip my weapon with white knuckles and prepare for the onslaught. Boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom. I feel my heart beat in my eyeballs and tentatively stalk forward, catching a movement in the left of my vision. I swing around and unleash fury with a war-cry, before experiencing blistering pain. Where was it coming from? The pain localises to my hand as I watch it change from yellow to orange.
"MEDIC!" I scream, clutching my bleeding hand and fall to the ground... wetting myself. Is this how I go? Is this how the story of Cloaker Josh ends? My cries go unanswered as the battle rages on around me. I catch another in the ribs, winding me. I turn and stagger to the safe zone and prepare for the darkness.

"GAME!" The umpire yells and it's over.

Indoor Paintball is brutal.

Nobody is safe from the paintball, not even Willem Dafoe.
My girlfriend and I had organised a joint birthday venture at Spitfire Paintball, at Sydney Olympic Park. That'd be fun, right? A bunch of us would dress like Barney Stinson (i.e. wear suits) and go for a Paintball Skirmish together. I wasn't really phased as I'd done it before in an outdoor setting, however it wasn't too bad as the scale of the setting was so big that by the time paintballs reached you, you could almost pluck them out of the air with your hand.

First, let me paint (pun intended) a picture for you as to how this brutal game (probably) came to popularity.
"Necessity, who is the mother of invention." - Plato
The device, now known as the "Paintball Marker", was created for the purpose of marking trees and wandering cattle efficiently from a distance. Due to the vast ranges it needed to traverse, it employs a mechanism with a canister filled with compressed gas to fire the pellets at almost 100 metres a second. No doubt, one of these farmers decided to turn the gun on his mate for teh lulz and after his offsider spat out a string of obscenities, he thought to himself that this would be a fun game to play. So, these things are designed to fire at a target anywhere between 75-200 metres away. We were about to experience the joys of being shot from 3 metres away.

We all get there, 12 of us in total, filled with nervousness and excitement. I walk up to the counter to sign in. The clerk asks if I'd like to purchase a box.
"A box? You mean, to put my stuff in?" I ask innocently. He smiles.
"You could say that... it's to protect your goods, for sure." He points to the apparatus in question on the rack. Oh. A box. I recognise the genital shaped piece of plastic he is pointing at.
"Nah, I'll be 'right." I say nonchalantly. "I'd played a couple of times before, and it was never an issue."
"Are you honestly willing to take the risk?" He has this look on his face, and by it I can tell not many people have turned down the offer in the past.
"It's cool man, I'll be careful."
"If you insist." Those were the words that came out of his mouth, but the expression on his face said something like, "Your funeral, bro."

I pay my entry fee and walk outside with Rakuli. We spark up cigarettes, and he begins stretching.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm limbering up. Rule #18."
Rule #18...? Ah right, Zombieland. "Limber up."
"Good idea." I begin stretching.
"You get a box?"
"Nah, I didn't worry about it. Doubt I'll get shot in the groin, it's never happened before.
He stops stretching, and looks at me with a serious expression.
"I would get one if I were you. Those things hurt."
I was starting to lose my resolve. Should I just shell out the additional $10 for ball protection? Just then, my girlfriend comes around the corner.
"Did you get a box?" She asks, and at this point I swear they've all had a meeting behind my back and decided that they were going to stage this intervention.
"No, I -" I start, and she continues. "I'm not going without for a month, you're getting one."

And that was that. I went up to the counter and a smile crosses the clerk's face once again.
"Think better of it, then?" he says smugly as he reaches for a fresh box.
"You know, we only opened in January and we've had four guys get hit in the jewels that weren't wearing a box. They had to be carried off of the field."
"Yeah, okay." I snatch up the box and walk to the change rooms to install. I'd better get shot in the nuts to justify this purchase. I thought to myself. 
"Both teams READY?" He yells. We reply in the affirmative. It's on again. This time we're playing Capture The Flag.

For anyone familiar with first person shooters, they'll know what I'm talking about. For the rest of you, essentially there's a flag in the middle point of the course, and the objective is to retrieve the flag and return with it to your base, however if you get hit you have to drop it. Of course the flag is in the open, so in order to capture it you've got to run in with no cover and risk getting pummelled with little pellets of pain.

I am still a little shell shocked from my first run-in with death so I play defensively. I notice there's an awesome little alcove right in front of the flag that'll allow me to defend it from attackers, and cover defenders, without fear of getting hit. As the match starts, I pelt as fast as I can to position and take cover. So far, so good. I start to get my nerve back as I frag a couple of the green team (my sworn enemy). I begin to feel invincible.

As I'm about to pop off another round, I feel a sledge-hammer hit me in the back of the head. I drop to my knees as the world begins to spin. Wha... how...? Tears well up in my eyes as I sit there in bewilderment. I pull myself to my feet and stagger back to my base. From behind the protective fence, I feel the back of my head. When I look at my hand, it's again covered in the red-yellow mixture. At what point was it okay to have games that make me bleed?! Is this what Indoor Paintball is like?!

As this point, I realise I'm going to need to take off my glasses, which had completely fogged up under my full-face protective mask. I take them off, and realise that  my basic right of sight has been stripped from me. I am no longer aiming for the "green" team, I'm aiming at blurry dark movements through condensation and smears of paint.

We go to play another game type, Cops and Robbers. Basically the "Robbers" are holed up in a Bank while the "Cops" storm the place. Cops have "infinite lives", meaning once shot they simply return to the "respawn" point and carry on playing. The Robbers, on the other hand, only have one life and the game ends when they're all dead.

We play a couple of matches, and our team does quite well. In the last round, I'm forced to push the envelope and I bolt straight into the bank. I dodge some paintballs and slide into cover. We need to win in the next 30 seconds, or we lose.

I let out a battle cry and push forward. I see movement to my left; I swing around and fire at it.
"AAOOOOWWW!" I hear the death rattle of my opponent... but something's not right. I recognise that sound... I haven't got time to think about it. I see a figure hiding under a desk, and I pepper it with death. Something in the proximity of 10 pellets strikes the target, and the umpire calls game.

Now, that yell before. Where have I heard that before? Oh crap, I think I shot Katie. I walk over and see she's clutching the side of her neck. She's not talking to me... and when she does start up again, I suspect it'll be about that.

Pro Tip: Try to avoid shooting your girlfriend if you can, you'll make life much easier for yourself.

We played for about 2 hours in the end, until we ran out of paint essentially. All in all, it was a great day but I'm not in a hurry to do it again.

And that box I bought? Half an hour in, I'd caught 3 paintballs in the jewels. By the end of the day, that number was be closer to 7. A word of advice to all: If you are participating in an activity at an establishment that sells these boxes... Buy the damn thing. It ain't worth the potential consequences of not buying one.

In fact, even if you're not participating in an activity that it's recommended for, wear one anyway. Can't hurt.

This could have been me.


  1. KBs threat had me doing that ROTFL and LOLing thang, but I'm sure I'm not supposed to be hearing about those activities.

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  2. Yes, here was my thought process as I read that line, haha yes I did, wait... that makes me sound like a deviant, wait wha?! His mum reads this blog!!! Lol.

  3. Hey Troll Chick is your BD 5/5 ?

  4. I feel that although my team put up a good fight, we fai-- wait, my team was horrible, we lost every game except for the very first team frag fest.

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